Tesla Introduces Self-Driving Features With Software Upgrade
Automakers have been heavily pursuing the technology. Photograph by Paul Morris—Bloomberg via Getty Images

This Startup Is the Latest to Enter the Self-Driving Race

Mar 23, 2016

Zoox, a startup with aspirations for an Uber-like service, has received a permit from California to begin testing self-driving vehicles on the state's public roads.

The company will become the 12th to receive a permit from the state, and joins an illustrious list of autonomous vehicle-dreaming companies to have received permission from California, according to Bloomberg.

The list includes Google (goog), Ford (f), Tesla (tsla), Nissan (nsany), Volkswagen (vlkay), and Mercedes-Benz (ddaif).

Zoox has long operated under a shroud of mystery—its website is an ode to black. The company was founded in 2014 by Australian designer Tim Kentley-Klay and engineer Jesse Levinson, who reportedly worked at Stanford University with Sebastian Thrun, the first director of Google’s self-driving car program who left to concentrate on his education startup Udacity.

Zoox has harbored hopes of launching self-driving taxis by 2020 that will meet National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's guidelines of Level 4 automation, the highest level of automated driving. In a previous interview, Kentley-Klay outlined his plans to dispense with steering wheels or brake pedals, which self-driving cars in a Level 3 designation would have. (Google's self-driving cars are gradually removing steering wheels and pedals from its prototypes.)

“We think Level 3, which is what everybody in the auto industry is aiming for, is actually bulls**t,” Kentley-Klay told ReadWriteDrive. “The legislation is saying that, even though the [Level 3] car is driving itself, the driver has to be paying attention. That’s not a self-driving car. That’s a self-defeating car. What is the point?”

All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. FORTUNE may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.

Quotes delayed at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Interactive Data. ETF and Mutual Fund data provided by Morningstar, Inc. Dow Jones Terms & Conditions: http://www.djindexes.com/mdsidx/html/tandc/indexestandcs.html. S&P Index data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Terms & Conditions. Powered and implemented by Interactive Data Managed Solutions